by Ciaran Healy
Twenty years ago, maybe even a decade ago, the idea that Scotland’s secession from the union was a party-political move might have held water. For a time, perhaps.
But things have moved so quickly, so quickly that we forget, I think, how different things used to be. It’s the context that’s shifting, the ground beneath our feet. Facebook didn’t exist. Youtube didn’t exist. Google was just a search engine, and not the internet equivalent of the creepiest, sleaziest person you could ever imagine, even in theory.
There’s an ancient piece of wisdom that I think is becoming more relevant in these times – all that is hidden will be revealed, and all that can be shaken, will be. In these times, with these advances, these are no longer vague karmic laws, hovering in the ether. They are the defining characteristics of the world in which we live.
Secrets are a dying breed, for everyone. You and me, of course. But also for other things, deeper things, bigger things than us.
Things like massive structures of ancient power and control. Structures that rise out of the kind of society we have – the best schools to the best universities, the best clubs, the best societies to which to belong.
Where formerly we might have derided such ideas as being conspiracy theories, we now know differently, in two quite critical ways.
One is that the once-thick and luxuriant cloak of ideology is looking pretty threadbare. It’s all just plastic, now – plastic lefts and plastic rights, stretched thin and torn over the deeper structure of money and dominance.
There are no new ideas now – politics is now an exercise in rolling out some tired lines from a world that doesn’t exist anymore, so this party or that can put a favourable spin on whatever it is that their master, the market, has permitted to them to offer.
But this isn’t the real problem. That’s just the most visible, the most obvious – and it is so very, very howlingly obvious to everyone in this nation now who takes even a basic interest in what is going on.
No, the real problem is this. The market is insane. We learned in 2008 just how insane. But nothing has changed. And why?
Because of power. Entrenched structures of power. It’s not about how many people believe that banking should change – it’s about who gets to enforce that change, and when the bankers themselves have a client system at Westminster, we will watch the stars die before that occurs.
And they do. Not a client party. A client system. Right and left, and centre too. All the connections, all the relationships, all the intimate knowledge of every ancient loophole and every ancient lever.
It is hard to summon the will to vote when you know that nothing will change – worse, when you are right to know this, and you are. What is a democracy if the vote we cast does not slice to the bone?
A vote for independence would slice to the bone. That would be something that the Westminster Machine would be unable to spin, no way, no how.
A Scottish independence movement which ignored all this, which pushed nationalist jingoism only, would not be an answer.
It would be a stunning, striking, shattering vote of no confidence in Westminster. And for many, that’s reason enough. But the Independence movement we have is something else. An independent Scotland would be something else.
We are facing challenges that have never existed before. A nation born now is a nation born into a new world, where it is globalisation, vast commercial powers and technological change that will dictate the best path ahead.
It is not a call to a naïve, magical bullet, that will solve all of Scotland’s problems.
It’s the recognition that the new problems the world faces cannot be solved by an entrenched, client structure. And yes, it may be that corruption will become entrenched in the Scottish political system in the way it has in London.
But it will take some time for that to happen. And corruption is a hell of a lot easier to prevent than to cure.
Scotland has a chance to sever itself from a very toxic cabal, and if the people of Scotland are serious enough, and strong enough, to make sure that never happens here, then it could be free in a way that Britain might not be for centuries.
Which for me at least brings the issue to a point. Do we think that Scottish people are serious enough, as a people, and strong enough as a people, that this hope is realistic?
My answer is yes, but even if yours is no, please take the time to consider it.
Nobody is condemning you if you vote ‘No’. The status quo will always have an appeal. But the world has changed, and the status quo has become change itself.
Corruption is something we’ll have to face together. But this corruption is something we can strike at now. Let’s hit the reset button.
Vote for change.
Ciaran Healy is a philosopher and writer, as well as being a recent convert to the Yes campaign and guest contributor to our blog.
Follow Ciaran on Twitter.